Monday, January 26, 2009

Some unexpected excitement on the Vogue Knitting Book front yesterday.

I now lack only one, Spring, 1940, and it’s like trying to fill an inside straight. eBay is set up to notify me when anything with the description “Vogue Knitting” is offered. I get a message from them most evenings with half a dozen new ones. I also go to eBay itself and read through the “Vogue Knitting” list several times a week.

I did that, late yesterday afternoon. Zilch, as usual. But my early evening message offered No. 10, Spring 1937, a sparkling clean copy, at a Buy-It-Now price of £9.99. I clicked straight through to eBay, figuring that I’d better have it, at that price, even though I’d already got one. But it was gone.

This episode has started up a whole new anxiety – what if some idiot finds the one I want, and offers it as Buy-It-Now? I can check the list every day, but I can’t check it every half-hour. Sometimes they turn up in batches from the same seller, as someone turns out Granny’s old magazines and finds a clutch of them. So I wrote to the seller of No. 10 this morning, just in case, begging her to put subsequent finds up for auction to give us all a chance.

Back here at the ranch, my new anxiety is: am I capable of setting in a sleeve? It’s been decades since I’ve done it. My sweaters have all been seamless, EZ-style or gansey-like, where stitches are picked up at the shoulder and knit downwards for the sleeves. Or dropped-shoulder, like the dinosaur sweater last year, where only a simple straight seam is required. Could I knit up stitches on both sleeve-head and sleeve-hole and do a three-needle bind-off?

I should finish the second sleeve today. We’ll soon see. Although not right away, because the placket and collar come next.

The Pope’s Cat

I googled “Pope Benedict’s cat” and you seem to be right, Angel. There is a cat in Bavaria, a ginger Siamese if that’s possible, which claims to be his and indeed which claims to have written a book about him. That is the kind of twee up with which I cannot put, so I didn’t investigate the book further. But I did discover a sweet picture of the two cats, one black, one white, who lived with him in his apartment in Rome before his election.

And I read again that pets aren’t allowed in the Vatican. I also found a reference to reports in the Italian media that he had, after all, taken the cats along, as well as his piano and his books, when he moved. A nun who looks after him denied it, saying that the Pope has only little figures of cats, no real ones. I place a lot of hope in that nun. Asked a direct question by an Italian journalist, where does her loyalty lie?


I finished my seed-ordering yesterday with a whopping great order to Thompson and Morgan. I’ve bought some of everything, essentially: Joan J raspberry bushes, Mara des Bois strawberry plants, nematodes, a Root-trainer for starting runner bean seeds in, a micro-green-growing kit for playing with with grandchildren in the summer (I get something like that every year, and every year we fail), and lots and lots of seeds. In for a penny, in for a pound.


  1. Anonymous1:27 PM

    Good luck on setting the sleeve in. I just did one for the first time in at least twenty years and it was a snap. I designed it myself using some old numbers my mother had. I had forgotten how good a set in sleeve looks and how flattering it is.
    Ron in Mexico

  2. Anonymous11:40 PM

    Three-needle bind-off requires exactly the same number of stitches; sewing it lets you ease it a little.
    (I still like the idea of using the bind-off!)

    Why would you buy nematodes? I thought they were what gardeners wanted to eliminate.